Tragic toddler ‘drank methadone’

Two-year-old Sophie Jones (below) died after drinking heroin substitute methadone.
Two-year-old Sophie Jones (below) died after drinking heroin substitute methadone.
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A two year old girl died from drinking a heroin substitute after her parents ‘put drugs first’ in their lives, it has been claimed.

Little Sophie Jones managed to drink a substantial amount of the green liquid methadone which had been prescribed to her mum and should have been kept in a safe place, a court was told.

Tragic tot Sophie Jones

Tragic tot Sophie Jones

Preston Crown Court heard she had a very high concentration of the substance in her body and that amount could have led to an overdose even in an adult tolerant to it.

But it probably would have made a difference if she had been taken to hospital earlier as a complete antidote could have been given, the court heard.

Her father Barry Jones, 41, of Jameson Street, Blackpool, denies manslaughter by gross negligence, as well as an alternative charge of causing or allowing the death of a child and child cruelty.

He says he is not criminally responsible for what happened. The jury have been told that her mother, Michelle King, 29, has admitted her manslaughter.

Opening the case for the prosecution, Simon Medland suggested that at the time the couple’s lives had spiralled downwards and they were prioritising drugs and not the care, health and wellbeing of their daughter.

Mr Medland said the precise method by which Sophie got the methadone is something they would never be in a position to prove. The prosecution suggest this is partly because her parents never actually told the truth about what really happened.

After the little girl’s death in March this year, police searched the home. In the yard officers found a Tom and Jerry cup which had a quarter of a pint of methadone inside.

The drug had been decanted from a child proof bottle into the cup which may have been attractive to Sophie, said the prosecution.

And it has been suggested that Michelle King, who was on a methadone prescription, had been stockpiling and selling it.

Mr Medland claimed that hair samples later showed Sophie and been exposed to drugs like heroin and cocaine for months.

A juice bottle with methadone in it was found in a bin outside.

A dummy was found to have drug powder residue and could have involved heroin and cocaine being ingested.

“We don’t say either parents fed those drugs to her, but it was in the household where they were being taken.

It got into her system,” Mr Medland told the jury.

He added: “Where people have drug problems it becomes the central thing in their life. At the time the lives of mum and dad had spiralled downwards and they were prioritising drugs and not what should have been done - the care, health and wellbeing of their daughter. They were putting drugs first and Sophie second.”

He said it “very probably” would have made a difference if Sophie had been taken to hospital as soon as it happened.

“The defendant Barry Jones essentially knew what was going on, we say”.

He dialled 999 on the night of March 4, to ask for an ambulance. A recording of that call was played to the jury

The court has also heard a suggestion that in the day time of March 4, Jones’ mum and her partner had called round to visit. At that stage Sophie was drowsy, not good on her legs and falling over.

His mum suggested she needed to be taken to hospital. Sophie was not taken and it is claimed it was pretended she had been to a walk in centre which wasn’t true, added Mr Medland.

The case continues.